Vanuatu has a rapidly growing, mostly rural population spread over 80 islands, which makes it very difficult to access health services. Cataracts, refractive error and diabetes eye disease are some of the main causes of avoidable blindness in the country
We helped establish a diabetes eye disease programme in Port Vila to increase awareness of how living with diabetes can affect your eye health.
In 2001 we launched the country’s first national eye care programme. Before this, there was one eye clinic with a part-time eye nurse using outdated equipment. Over the next five years, we trained eye specialists, set up two surgical centres, and equipped four provincial hospitals with eye clinics.
In 2015 the Ministry of Health agreed to help us reach our goal of training three new eye doctors. The following year we began training Dr Johnson Kasso, who graduated at the end of 2018 and has now returned home as the country's first eye doctor.
We helped establish a diabetes eye disease programme in Port Vila to increase awareness of how living with diabetes can affect your eye health. Local Foundation-trained eye nurses teach general nurses how to refer their patients to get their eyes tests so that patients with diabetes eye disease can be screened and treated faster.
In early 2019, we opened the new Vanuatu National Eye Centre in Port Vila following a $2.5 million upgrade and expansion of the previous centre. The upgraded eye clinic and increasing eye care workforce will go a long way to strengthen eye care services in Vanuatu.
In Vanuatu, currently there are: